Veterinarian awareness of farmer goals and attitudes to herd health management in The Netherlands

M. Derks, B. van Woudenbergh, M. Boender, W. Kremer, T. van Werven, H. Hogeveen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


In providing advice on herd health, veterinarians need to be aware of farmers' goals and priorities. To determine the level of awareness, 29 veterinarians from 15 practices completed questionnaires during visits to dairy farms within the scope of veterinary herd health management (VHHM) programmes. The farmers (n = 30) were asked to complete a questionnaire and their discussions with the veterinarian were recorded using a voice recorder. Herd performance goals were set by the farmer and veterinarian in 24% of cases. Veterinarians who did not set goals indicated that they and the farmer 'intuitively knew' what each wanted to achieve, and that the setting of performance goals was considered 'too formal'. Veterinarians often could not identify a farmer's main goal, and typically found milk production and nutrition significantly more important (P <0.01, and P <0.02, respectively), and fertility significantly less important (P <0.01) than the farmers. During on-farm conversations, veterinarians did not actively seek to identify farmers' goals or problems, suggest a co-operative strategy or summarise any advice given. The findings of this survey suggest that veterinarians need to focus more on goal setting, since awareness of goals and priorities is important for both communication and compliance with advice given. The needs of farmers with respect to herd health should also be more actively sought by veterinarians as the findings indicate that most farmers do not readily volunteer such information. (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-228
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • dutch dairy farmers
  • behavior
  • cattle


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